15 Ways To Get Lustrous, Healthier-Looking Hair

I don't know about you, but my hair is looking pretty lackluster lately. After a month of blasting my strands with blow dryers, frying it with curling irons, and tugging on it with straighteners, it's no wonder that it's looking less than its best. With all of the events and occasions that happen during the holiday season, from cocktail parties to holiday dinners, December isn't exactly prime time for keeping your strands in tip-top shape, leaving me pressed to find ways to make your hair look healthier in January. Plus, not only does the cold air dry out your skin — it affects your hair, too. Sigh. Winter, I adore you, but why must you bring so many beauty woes?

So, my hair is currently under repair. Let's be real, I don't really have many social plans or people to impress this month, so it's the perfect time to take a break from treating my hair like that goldfish I neglected when I was eight (we all know how that turned out) and properly take care of it. January is hair reconstruction month, as far as I'm concerned. Here are 15 ways to make your hair shinier, stronger, and overall healthier (or at least look like it.) New Year's resolution: Have better hair. Check.

1. Swap Your Shampoo

Switch your ordinary shampoo for one that works to strengthen and repair hair. Make sure you're focusing it on your scalp, because that's where strong hair comes from. No need to shampoo the ends — it'll just dry them out even more. To wash out buildup, use a clarifying shampoo every two weeks or so, depending on how much product you use and how oily your hair is.

My picks:

L'Oréal Total Repair 5 Restoring Shampoo, $5, Check It Out

Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Three, $10, Check It Out

2. Make Deep Conditioning a Habit

Deep conditioning is especially important when winter takes its toll on dry hair. Get in the habit of using it once a week (I'm a Sunday night conditioning kind of girl).

My pick:

Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus, $24, Check It Out

3. Use an At-Home Gloss Treatment

Coloring my hair at home is something I swear I will never do, because that's one area in which I have zero faith in myself. However, I also don't enjoy shelling out the cash to touch up my highlights as often as I should. Enter: the tinted hair gloss. It's much easier, there's a significantly lower risk for making a major dye mistake, and it's cheaper. Plus, it's actually better for your hair, too — glossing repairs, while dye damages.

My pick:

John Frieda Color Refreshing Gloss, $10, Check It Out

4. Blast Hair With Cold Water

Unpleasant as it may be, I swear by this when I want to give my hair an extra boost of shine. Just before stepping out of the shower, rinse your hair with super cold water. It seals the cuticle, which helps prevent frizz and adds a bit of luster.

5. Dry Hair With A Microfiber Towel

Regular terry cloth towels can wreak havoc on your hair, even if you're not rubbing it (which, BTW, big mistake in its own). Opt to use a microfiber towel on your hair — it's super absorbent and won't create as much friction. A DIY (albeit, more time-consuming) idea for avoiding friction from terry cloth: squeeze dry your hair with paper towels.

My pick:

Aquis Microfiber Hair Towel, $23, Check It Out

6. Use A Wide-Tooth Comb On Wet Hair

Using your regular brush on wet hair is just asking for breakage. Since hair is more flexible when it's wet, it's more prone to damage. To detangle after you hop out of the shower, use a wide-tooth comb.

My pick:

Tool Structure Shower Detangler Comb, $3, Check It Out

7. Take Breaks From Your Blow Dryer

I know that seems like asking for a lot, but I promise you, your hair will thank you. Heat styling your hair every day does major damage, so try cutting down on heat styling as much as possible. Personally, I try and let my hair air dry when I can, especially when I know I'm going to be using a flatiron or a curling iron.

8. Apply A Heat Protectant

If, like me, you can't totally steer clear of heat styling, be religious about using a heat protectant. It makes a world of difference in the long-run.

My pick:

TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray, $5, Check It Out

9. Get On The Argan Oil Bandwagon

I truly believe that argan oil is worth the hype — it makes hair shiny, soft, and strong without leaving it sticky or greasy. If you're not on the argan oil bandwagon yet, hop on, sister, and enjoy the ride. You're welcome.

My pick:

OGX Extra Strength Moroccan Argan Oil, $7, Check It Out

10. Utilize The Cold Button

The neglected cold button on your blow dryer need not be forgotten. After blow drying your hair, hit your hair with a wave of cold air to seal the cuticle and add shine, much like the cold water technique. It only takes an extra 30 seconds, and it's totally worth it.

11. Use A Boar Bristle Brush

Using a boar bristle brush conditions hair and improves its texture, as opposed to plastic brushes, which are much harder on strands. They're not made for major detangling, though, so do that with your wide-tooth comb first. If you've got thick hair like yours truly, a nylon and boar bristle combo brush will be more effective, while people with thin hair can go for straight-up boar bristle. Oh, and that 100-strokes-a-day nonsense? Unnecessary — and over-brushing can actually damage hair.

My pick:

Sephora Collection Dual Boar Paddle Brush, $22, Check It Out

12. Flip On A Humidifier

Using a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep helps keep your hair (and skin!) from getting too dried out, which can be a problem when the weather is cold and you've got the heating system going inside.

13. Sleep On A Silk Pillowcase

Swapping your cotton pillowcase for a silk one reduces friction when you sleep, allowing you to wake up with soft and shiny rather than dull and static-y hair. It also extends the life of your hairstyle (blowout fans, rejoice!) Plus, you can channel your inner princess, and there's nothing wrong with that.

My pick:

Spasilk 100% Pure Silk Facial Beauty Pillowcase, $20, Check It Out

14. Take Your Vitamins

Remember, healthy hair starts comes from the inside, too. Hair loves omega-3 fatty acids, which fish oil capsules deliver (among a multitude of other benefits). Biotin and other B-vitamins have also been hailed for improving the strength and thickness of hair, as have vitamin D and iron.

15. Get A Trim

I know, I know, if you're growing your hair out, that's the last thing you want to hear, but the only way to get truly rid of split ends is to chop 'em off. New year, fresh start, right?

Images: leszekglasner/Fotolia;